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Oil palm: Labour shortage worries EMPA
Published on: Friday, February 09, 2018

Sandakan: Long-run sustainability of oil production will be at stake if immediate solutions are not initiated, said East Malaysia Association (EMPA).

"The phenomenon was due to the production of fresh fruit bunches (FFB) for oil palm plantations in Sabah which continued to decline with an average yield per hectare of below 20 metric tonnes (MT) per year for the last three years," said its Chairman Masri Pudin during a Palm Oil Workshop 2018, here, Thursday.

The two-day event was jointly organised by EMPA and Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB).


"Apart from that, the labour shortage in the plantation sector continued to haunt oil palm growers which resulted in a very significant crop loss in the field," said Masri.

"Hopefully, the use of proper farm machinery would be able to alleviate the burden of the growers who recognised and agreed that mechanisation will become an important requirement towards labour employment sustainability," he said.

He said the Ganoderma root disease was also deliberated at length by the workshop participants who hoped the problem would be overcome with the formation of a task force comprising the planters, local university and MPOB. "With the objective of improving oil extraction, fresh fruit grading at the mill had been upgraded by incorporating "cut tes" system while participants from plantations found it impractical to apply guideline in the field as compared to the conventional procedure," he said, adding that several adjustments needed to be made as suggested.

"Integration of information from both exercises can be utilised to formulate a more comprehensive quality control system where oil extraction can be improved and quality supplier are paid better price while FFB and oil wastage can be avoided," he said.


Meanwhile, MPOB Director Datuk Dr Ahmad Kushairi Din, in his opening remarks, recorded his commitment to the workshop resolution and expressed appreciation to the participants, not only members of the industry and officers of MPOB but also leaders from the Sabah Agriculture Department, MPOC, MPOCC, UMS, Department of Environment Protection and Environmental Department. Also present were MPOC Malaysia Deputy CEO Belvinder Sron, Malaysian Palm Oil Certification Council (MPOCC) CEO Harnarinder Singh and EMPA Deputy Chairman Anthony John Wong. - SC Tam

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